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Researchers begin to map the communication pathway between the brain and brown fat.

Researchers at Georgia State University have found that brown fat tissue, the body’s ‘good fat’, communicates with the brain through sensory nerves.  The team state that this good fat is possibly sharing information that is important for fighting human obesity, such as how much fat the body has and how much fat the body has lost.  The findings, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, help to describe the conversation that takes place between the brain and brown fat tissue while brown fat is generating heat.

Brown fat is considered good fat or healthy fat because it burns calories to help generate heat for the human body and expends energy, while white fat stores energy for later and can increase the risk for health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. A person with a healthy metabolism has less white fat and an active supply of brown fat.  Studies show that brown fat plays a big role in someone having the capability to burn more energy, becoming a tool to stay trim and fight obesity. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to target brown fat and activate it more, state the team.

The current study found that when brown fat tissue was activated with a drug that mimics the sympathetic nervous system messages that normally come from the brain, the fat talked back to the brain by activating sensory nerves. The sensory nerves from brown fat increased their activity in response to direct chemical activation and heat generation.

The team state that this is the first time that the function of sensory nerves from brown fat has been examined theorising that brown fat is an active organ that’s relatively important for metabolism.  They add that the current study has found a new pathway of its communication.

The study informs the medical community more about the communication between fat and the brain, which is really beneficial for treating human obesity explain the team. There is evidence that people with more brown fat have a better metabolism, lower instances of type II diabetes and are trimmer. Knowing how to increase the amount of brown fat activity or increase the brown fat, that’s the future of trying to figure out yet another way to try and lose weight effectively and quickly.

The researchers speculate that brown fat is telling the brain many things, such as how much heat is being generated, how much and what types of free energy are being used or stored, how much fat the person has and how much fat they’ve lost.

As brown fat gets hotter and starts to generate heat, being active and doing good things for our body, it increases the person’s metabolism and helps them burn white fat state the team.   As it’s getting hotter the lab found that it tells the brain it’s getting hotter.  The team think that this is some type of feedback, like a thermostat, and as it gets hotter, it probably controls how the brain is talking back to it.

It was already known the brain communicates with fat tissue by telling it to break down and either release or use free energy for the human body to function. The current study shows a feedback loop between brown fat tissue and the brain.

The researchers have studied the communication from fat to the brain and the brain to fat for years, but they’re one of only a few labs in the world to prove and examine communication from fat to the brain through the nervous system.

Source:  Georgia State University

 

These are sensory and sympathetic nerves connected to brown fat through the nervous system. Sensory nerves (red/orange) send information from fat to the brain and sympathetic nerves (green/orange) send the signal for fat to be activated or break down.  Credit:  Georgia State University.
These are sensory and sympathetic nerves connected to brown fat through the nervous system. Sensory nerves (red/orange) send information from fat to the brain and sympathetic nerves (green/orange) send the signal for fat to be activated or break down. Credit: Georgia State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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